Joyce Meyer - An Attitude of Contentment - Part 1
- How to know Jesus
We have so much. And there's really no excuse at all to ever be discontent. And that's what I wanna talk about this afternoon is to have a contented attitude. The Bible says, "Godliness with contentment is of great gain". And I believe it's really a great way to praise God just to be content. I think that really blesses him because there's so many people in the world that are discontent. And every one of us, even those of you who may think you're poor, we have so much compared to what they have in the rest of the world that it's just... And, you know, we think all the time, but we need to think more about how blessed we are. I mean, seriously, we need to think more about just how blessed we are and what God has done for us.
And just even the medical things that are available to us today. It's just... well, we're blessed, and I just think it'd be good if we'd all go out of here this afternoon, just pretty much determined to have a good attitude, to work with God about this thing about maintaining a humble attitude. And believe me, that's a lifelong pursuit. I set a goal today. And my goal is, if I remember, I'll let you know next year if I've made any progress, my goal is every time Dave gives me advice is to say, "Thank you". Ooh, it's gonna take a lot. Amen? Wow. And I think it would just be great if we'd go out determined to be content. And, you know, we can't do any of this by ourselves. God's gotta help us, but Paul said in Philippians 4:11 and 12, "Now I'm not implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content".
So, it apparently wasn't something he always knew, it was something he had to learn. And so, it's okay if we're still learning it. And I definitely, even in the beginning of my ministry, I was just discontent all the time because I wanted it to be bigger than what it was, and I was just frustrated because it wasn't growing. And something that I missed, you know, we often think about, "What would I do over if I could go back and do it again"? And something that I would like to save you from is try to be really happy where you're at, on the way to where you're going. And I love what Paul said, or the Amplified Bible says about contentment. Contentment doesn't mean that you never want anything. It's not wrong to want things. But if we do want something, we need to ask God for it and then be content with when and how he gives it to us and enjoy where we're at while we're waiting for God to do the next thing.
I want to tell you something, and this is important. I've caught myself at different times, just being a little bit discontent, not really knowing what it was about. And I know I'm blessed and so I shouldn't be discontent, and I didn't understand. And God showed me something that helped me, and I want it to help you. There's gonna be a part of you that no matter what you ever have or don't have, that's not going to be fully content because this is not your home. The Bible says that we "Groan inwardly, waiting for the full redemption of our bodies and waiting for Christ to come". This is not our home. We're just passing through, waiting to get home.
So, there's a spiritual part of us that's never gonna be completely satisfied until we are with Jesus and home. Amen? And thank God we can't be satisfied with this world. It's just, I'm really, the older I get, the more I'm looking forward to what God's gonna have when I'm on the other side. Not saying I want to die, but I'm getting, you get a little more curious the older you get, "Well, what's it really gonna be like"? And so, Paul said, I must start over, "Not that I'm implying that I was in any personal want, because I've learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I'm not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I'm in".
So, I love that. Contentment doesn't mean I never want anything. It's not wrong to want things. It's wrong to be unhappy if you don't get them. I'm gonna say it again, it's not wrong to want things: but it's wrong to be unhappy if you don't get them. Because really what that's saying is, "God, I don't trust you". 'Cause see we ask him to be in charge of our lives. And I've kind of come to the point of realizing that if I ask God for something and he doesn't give it to me, that it's either: I either didn't ask for the right thing, it's not the right time, or God has got something much better for me and I'm just not smart enough and not asked for it yet. One thing I can tell you is, God is never holding out on you. Trust me when I tell you when the time is right and the thing is right, nothing and nobody will keep God from giving you what he wants you to have. Amen?
And so, we wanna be satisfied where we're at. Don't waste your life being unhappy where you are because you're always trying to get to the next thing and the next place. Keep pressing toward those things. We don't wanna be passive and idle and just sit around and not do anything or ever want anything. But God wants us to be happy and I think that he wants us to be thankful. If you ever want God to give you anything else, you have to learn to be thankful for what you have. Philippians 4:6 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God: and the peace that passes understanding shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus".
So, I was praying one day for something, and God said, "Why should I give you that? You're already complaining about what you got". So, see if we're complaining about what we have, getting something else won't stop us from complaining. We'll find something else to complain about. And Paul said, "I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances". He means "I know how to not have what I want and be happy". "And I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance". There's two tests we have with money. The Lord put this on my heart one time. There's two tests that you're gonna have concerning money. One, how you act when you don't have any. And two, how you act when you have a lot. When you don't have any, God wants you to be content to wait on him, and for wherever you're at, be as generous as you can be. And when you have plenty, God doesn't want you to get selfish and keep it all for yourself. He wants you to have your needs met, but he wants you to be very generous.
And there's a spirit that we deal with in our life that we have to fight against all the time and it's a spirit of greed. And sometimes, we think, "Well, if I just had this, I'd be happy. And if I just had that, I'd be happy". No, you got to get happy where you're at. I tried to think seriously about this because I don't like to preach stuff that just sounds preachy but doesn't work for people. So, what would this message sound like to somebody who maybe has a husband that's on drugs or a child that's in a lot of trouble? And I'm telling you, "Be happy where you're at, on the way to where you're going and be content". And how can you do that?
Sometimes, we'll have people write in and say, "How can I be content when I have this situation or that situation"? Well, I don't know that I have your full answer, but I think I have part of it. And part of it is to not focus all the time on what you don't have. They like it better than you guys. See really, a lot of times we just, whatever you focus on gets bigger and you can actually think so much about your problem that you really do make it bigger than what it is. And I'd like to be able to tell you to try to go ahead and enjoy your life. See, if you're living with somebody, or married to somebody who has a problem, if you let their problem make you unhappy, then you've become codependent on them. That's what codependency is. "I have to wait and see every day how you're gonna be before I can decide if I'm gonna be happy".
C'mon now. You can either listen to me or you can go pay a psychologist 100 bucks to tell you this. Codependency is a big thing. And how many times do you get up and it's a good sunny day and you've got a nice plan, and all of a sudden one of your kids does something and now all of a sudden, you've lost your joy. We cannot be codependent on other people. Let me repeat again, if you're involved with somebody who has a problem and you have to wait and see what they're gonna do that day before you can decide whether or not you're gonna be happy, then you're codependent on them. My family was actually a real mess. That's just all you can say. My dad was a sexual abuser. There was a spirit of incest in his family bloodline. And he wasn't the only one who abused me. I had a couple of uncles who did and a grandfather who tried, and my mom was just afraid. My dad was a pretty mean, scary person. He'd get drunk, come home at night, and beat her up.
You know, I don't know why she stayed with him, but women back then did. You know? Today, if I was married to somebody like him, I'd put up with it about 10 minutes. Now, I'm not telling you if you've got a husband, but, you know, my mother knew that my father was abusing me, and she stayed with him. And that, to be honest, it was, it's been harder for me to deal with what she did than what he did. And she was extremely codependent on him. Just thought she couldn't live without him, couldn't make it without him. And let me tell you something, all you really need is God. Listen, you don't let somebody abuse your kids and abuse you and stay with 'em 'cause you're afraid you can't make it. Uh-uh! God will take care of you and there are places that will help you and take care of you. You are too precious and you're worth too much to let somebody abuse you. Amen?
And so, my dad was an abuser, my mother was afraid of everything. I had one brother: nine years younger than me. And of course, he was brought up weird like me, except he wasn't sexually abused, but he never really had a father. And he went in the marines when he was 17, got in the Vietnam war and ended up getting on drugs over in the jungles of Vietnam and just for whatever reason was just never able to get free from them. He just, he was the nicest guy, good looking, but he was extremely irresponsible. And they say a lot of times when somebody starts taking a lot of drugs when they're young, that they kind of stay at that place in life and they never grow mentally beyond that.
So, you might have a 50-year-old that still acts like a 13-year-old or a 17-year-old. And he just was very irresponsible. He married a girl, and they had a baby, but he never would take care of the child and he never would pay child support. And he just, he'd disappear for years at a time and then he'd show back up and want somebody to clean his mess up. And he called us, and we hadn't seen him for about eight years, and he wanted to, "I'm ready, sis. Sis, can I come home? I wanna get my life straightened out". "Okay". So, we brought him back and he lived with us for four years and we thought he got off the drugs. I'm not sure now that he ever did completely. And he may have for a while, but he had to be, you had to babysit him all the time to keep him going in the right direction. Anybody know what I'm talking about? You know?
And so, he got good enough that we let him work on the road with us. And his teeth were all bad because of the drugs. We got all of his teeth fixed and got him nice new clothes and got him a new truck. He did okay as long as somebody was standing right on top of him, watching him. "Get up, David. Time to go to work, David". You know, just, but he couldn't seem to manage to take care of himself. And so, after about four years, we felt like it was time for him to get out and stand on his own two feet. So, we got him furniture, got him in an apartment, and sure enough, as soon as he was out on his own, he started going right back to the same stuff again. And he actually was kind of schizophrenic and got paranoid from all the drugs and thought he had bugs crawling under his skin and all kinds of stuff. And we got him all the help that we could get him. We got him in a treatment program. We did everything that we could possibly do. And after about six years, I realized that his life was eating mine up.
And I just said, "I can't do it anymore. I'm not gonna to do it anymore. I have a call on my life. I've got a life to live, and I am not gonna be codependent on his problem". Amen? And so, he left again for about eight years and then he called again, wanted to get his life straightened out. Yada, yada, yada. So, we sent him to a treatment program out in Los Angeles, somebody that we knew. And he got clean again. And then one day he just told them, he said, "You guys are great, and I appreciate all you've done, but this was just not for me. I want you, just take me to the VA". Well, the reason he wanted to go there was to get pain pills. And this is sad, but long story short, he ended up committing suicide. He hung himself in an abandoned building out in Los Angeles.
Now, I was tempted for about half an hour to feel like, "Well, it was my fault. You know, I should have taken care of him". But you know what? It wasn't my fault. We gave him every opportunity. And I didn't plan at all to go in this direction, but maybe there's somebody here today that needs to hear this, I don't know. You know, you just, you can't, don't feel guilty because somebody else wants to ruin their life. You can pray for them. You can try to help 'em, but you have a life to live, and God's got a plan for you. And I'm just telling you, don't let somebody else with a problem steal your life. Now, I'm not saying, please help them, do all you can for them, pray for them, but all you can do is give people opportunity. Come on, somebody needs this. All you can do is give people opportunity. And if they won't take it, and it's tough, especially if it's your kids.
Now, that was my brother and that was hard enough. But I know for some of you it's your kids. And I can't tell you what to do, only you know what you can do. But I'm just telling you, the Bible says, "The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy". And Jesus said, "I came that you might have and enjoy your life, and have it in abundance to the full, until it overflows". And so, don't let somebody else destroy your life because they want to destroy theirs. Anyway. Contentment does not come from possessions, positions, or power. Contentment comes from within. Contentment comes from being in right relationship to God. You cannot have hidden sin in your life and be content. You may have things from your past that you need to sit and talk with somebody about, that you've kept hidden for years and years and years. You won't be content until you deal with it. The more you hide from things, the more they're gonna chase you.
Here again, somebody needs to hear me. You can walk away from the physical problem, but still take it with you in your soul. My soul was wounded. That's why that book that I wrote, "Healing the soul of a woman," is so important for people that have been hurt in the past. You need to let the Holy Spirit in to those places of pain in your life and let him give you direction on how you should go about getting healing. I never did get any professional counseling. First of all, I couldn't have afforded it, but I got mine from God and reading books and just going through things myself, but there's not a thing wrong with getting counseling, if that's what you need. If you need to take medicine for a period of time, there's nothing wrong with that. I, personally, am really fed up with Christians acting like if you need some kinda medicine for your mental health that you're a nut and have a problem. I'm tired of that. I take medicine for anxiety and you know, for a long time I didn't want anybody to know that 'cause I'm a "Faith person".
Well, I don't care, if you were raised like I was, you'd have some anxiety, too. Amen? Not only that, I've got a little tumor on my adrenal glands which causes my hormones to go a little bit nutty. And you just, you gotta get the help you need. Don't abuse medicine. Don't let that be your first go-to every time you have a rough day. We don't want to just you know, there was some kind of a show on the other day, and my daughter said that this doctor was on. And he said 85% of people that take anxiety medicine really don't need it. They could get their problem solved another way. And I do believe that, there's a lot of people that's just the doctors, just hand that stuff out and that's not what you wanna do. But if that's what you really need, then there's no shame. Are you listening to me today?
Taking medicine for anxiety is no different than taking medicine if you've got diabetes, you know? Your nerves, your mental health is a part of you, just like any other part of you, but you have to get those issues resolved. You can't just hide from the things that are hurting you. And, you know, sexual abuse in particular is especially shaming. Of all the abuse, they say sexual abuse is the worst. And you usually feel bad about yourself and somehow or another you feel like it was your fault. And it's not. If an adult abuses you, it's not your fault that they did. Amen? And if your spouse is unfaithful, it's not your fault. It doesn't mean you weren't enough or there was something wrong with you. When somebody else has a problem, don't take it on yourself. Let them deal with their problems. Amen?
You can never be content if you have issues that need to be dealt with and you just keep pushing them away, and pushing them away, and pushing them away. Just do it afraid if you have to but get it over with and get it out of your life. You hear me? Get it over with. Do it and get it over with. And if you're here today and you haven't given your life to Christ yet, you can forget ever being happy. You just, I don't care what you own or what kind of position you have or who you know, you will not ever be happy without God in your life because you are created by him for him. And I will go a little bit further and say, if you've got one foot in the kingdom and one foot in the world, you're not gonna be happy with that either. So, if you're half in and half out, today's the day to get fully committed. Amen? I mean, fully committed.